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By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 12, 2007


Osama bin Laden remembers. And so should we.

In our hearts, in our souls and in our collective conscience the terror and the tragedy of that day in 2001 should be ever present and palpable.

It is human nature to forget. It is natural to slightly alter history and put a more palatable flavor on distasteful and despicable events. It is easier to say September 11th is behind us, to believe that we made it through another day and another year, than to be forever reminded of the horror that is now simply termed 9-11.

But 9-11 is not behind us. It looms ahead. To think, to act or to react otherwise is to paint a large neon target on our Western backs and place an arrow that says "aim right here." Avoidance of conflict will not win the war against terror. 9-11 is one of those events in recent history that we must remember in all of its hideous horror, sparing no detail, sugar coating no wound, eliminating no graphic, gory fact.

We must gird ourselves from an inclination to forget and that is hard to do in a world that lives for tomorrow. For the most part, Americans are a very forward thinking and optimistic people and looking to the future is indeed admirable. But thinking only of the future without remembering the past is too easy. We must always remember from whence we came, and only five short years ago we came from the dust and the rubble that were once hearts that beat and spirits that loved and buildings that truly housed the center of the world.

The force of our memories will in the end protect us. Fighting the war on terror takes money - for weapons, for technology, for preparedness. We need to allot the proper resources and assume behaviors that will put us in a defensive mode. Defense does not mean sitting back and watching and waiting, it is not an arm chair sport. Defense against terror is an active pursuit. And in order to be active billions of dollars must be allocated and in order to have that money we must bear down on our elected officials to allot the money and to dedicate themselves to creating real, workable, sound plans that will keep us, their constituents, Americans, safe. If we guard our psychological selves against those memories, if we forget the details of 9-11 we will never have the drive and commitment necessary to force the commitments of others.

We need to monitor the terrorists and search them out. We need to capture the terrorists before they attack us. We need to target them and destroy them before they destroy us. We are already the targets of terrorists, their plans are already under way.

To use the argument that there has not been an attack since 9-11, to say that anti-terror allocations are too high is to invite another disaster into our midst. Complacency is not in order when it comes to terror. We must be actively out there pursuing evil. In the eyes of terrorists even a failed attempt at capturing operatives, at closing down a cell, at stopping an operation or shutting down a funding organization is a sign that we are aggressively in the game of pursuit. When we relax, that's when we become easy targets.

9-11 taught us that our enemies are ruthless and dedicated. They are in this quest to destroy the West, freedom and democracy until the end, they are planning for the long run. Osama bin Laden chose to release his latest video the week before September 11th in order to keep the memory of al Qaeda's power fresh and alive. It was a reminder to his people, his followers, his adherents of al Qaeda's strength and capabilities.

For bin Laden 9-11 is a graphic demonstration of the vulnerability of the world's greatest country and of the greatest city in that country. His video release let his people know that he is still a player. He was telling them that the West is still afraid of him and of his message. He was saying that his message has the power to strike fear.

Of all the many and vitally important reasons to rewind and replay in our minds and remember the day September 11, 2001 the most important is to give honor to those who were so brutally murdered. The victims of 9-11 were chosen because of what they represent, what we all represent - freedom and prosperity, hope and happiness. The victims represented America.

We remember 9-11 and the 9-11 victims because we are humane and the loss of innocent human life is a tragedy. Our enemies remember 9-11 because of the glory that it brings to them. Terror is evil. We are good. In order to defeat evil terrorists we must act and by our actions protect our lives, our liberties, our freedoms.

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4 June 2017 12:14 PM in Columns

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